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Where Is Mold Hiding in Your Home?

According to a study conducted by the University of Arizona, mold spores are found in most homes. Fortunately, not all mold is dangerous. Nonetheless, some kinds of mold can make you and your family sick. For example, non-toxic airborne spores in large numbers can lead to allergies. Toxic mold contamination can cause serious health consequences, including skin rashes, neurological issues, and other health problems. Mold can also cause structural damage to the walls, floors, and ceilings in your home because the material goes through a period of wetting and then drying.

Fortunately, you can predict environments where mold will grow as long as you know what conditions  will facilitate its development. 

The Most Likely Places for Mold to Form

Kitchen and Bathrooms — These rooms share a few commonalities. Besides receiving the most use, the surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom get wet and water condenses on the surfaces. Mold grows on the walls, behind tiles, and underneath the sinks. Periodically, remove everything from the cabinets to check for the presence of leaks, moisture, and mold.

HVAC Ductwork —The heating and air conditioning system in your home has multiple components that are conducive to mold growth. During the summer season, the air coming into your home has a high moisture level, which can condense and accumulate in the duct lining material.  Any leak in the ductwork allows moist air to escape into the unconditioned spaces. The inside of the ductwork can have mold present.

Floors — It is difficult to find mold under carpet or floorboards. Carpet provides a nourishing environment for molds because it captures dirt. Floods, leaks, and spills can soak carpet through to the underlayment. Carpet also absorbs the moisture in the air. Make sure that you check under carpet pads,too. To look under floorboards, cut a hole about every 24 inches. Use a flashlight and mirror to look for mold underneath the floor.

Appliances — Machines that use water or create moisture in some form can facilitate mold growth and mildew. On a washer, the rubber piece that goes around the door, called the washer boot, may have mold behind the flap. Most refrigerators have a drain pan underneath the appliance that catches the condensation from the freezer defrost drain. You may have to remove the kick plate to access the pan, which may contain water and mold.

Other places to look under or behind for mold includes paneling, wallpaper, drywall, baseboards, and ceiling tiles.

Seeking Out Mold

Mold has a characteristic "musty" or "earthy" odor. It may look slimy or similar in appearance to that familiar “green  fuzzy” material that appears on the surface of cheese, bread, or other food products that have been kept too long. When inspecting your home for hidden mold, keep in mind that the appearance of a mold problem has a direct link to one or more of the following sources of indoor moisture:

  • Leaky roof
  • Flooding
  • Constant plumbing leaks
  • Backed-up sewers
  • Humidifiers
  • Damp basement or crawl spaces
  • Shower/bath steam and leaks
  • Clothes dryers vented indoors

As you evaluate these systems and spaces, it is important to know that mold generates spores to reproduce, and the spores can remain dormant for 50 or more years.  Be careful not to disturb spaces that may harbor dormant mold, and call in a mold remediation expert.

Remediating Hidden Mold

Hidden mold can present a challenge for most homeowners to remediate alone. Locating the mold may involve disassembling parts of your home, such as removing paneling, cutting away wall sections, lifting away baseboards, tearing up carpeting, to identify the affected area. You can easily infect of areas of the home if you do not use the correct remediation techniques.

The mold remediation process requires experienced and skilled workers to remove and dispose of moldy contaminated materials properly. The EPA recommends that you call a professional mold remediation company for mold problem that covers more than 10 square feet. They have the proper tools and training to effectively find, reach, and remove the hidden mold in your home with as little invasion as possible.

For professional mold remediation services, contact Rainbow International.

 

For Further Reading:

Is Mold Causing Hidden Health Problems in Your Home?

How to Prevent Mold in the Most Likely Places

Types of Mold You Need to Know About

Health Risks of Mold Exposure